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Elon Musk backing out of $44 billion Twitter purchase

Elon Musk discusses SpaceX's latest plans to launch its new Starship rocket in 2022 during a project update at the company's Starbase facility in South Texas on Feb. 10, 2022.
Elon Musk discusses SpaceX's latest plans regarding its new Starship rocket during a project update at the company's Starbase facility in South Texas on Feb. 10, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk doesn't want to buy Twitter after all.

The billionaire SpaceX and Tesla CEO is backing out of his planned $44 billion purchase of Twitter, Reuters reported today (July 8), citing a filing by Musk's lawyers.

The filing claims that "Twitter had failed or refused to respond to multiple requests for information on fake or spam accounts on the platform, which is fundamental to the company's business performance," Reuters wrote (opens in new tab).

Related: 8 ways SpaceX has transformed spaceflight

In the deal, which was announced in April, Elon Musk committed to acquire the social media platform for $54.20 per share. But he soon tamped the brakes, saying that he wouldn't go through with the purchase until Twitter showed that bots — fake or spam accounts — make up less than 5% of its users.

Twitter apparently has not met that condition to Musk's liking. 

"Twitter is in material breach of multiple provisions of that Agreement, appears to have made false and misleading representations upon which Mr. Musk relied when entering into the Merger Agreement," the filing states, according to Reuters.

Twitter has its own views on the matter, of course. And they don't align with Musk's.

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"The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery," Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor tweeted this evening (opens in new tab).

The purchase deal stipulates that Musk must pay a $1 billion fee if he ends up backing out. But we shouldn't necessarily assume that the world's richest person will plunk that cash down without a fight.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).  

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Mike Wall
Mike Wall

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.